Undercoating Vintage Volkswagens

Undercoating Vintage Volkswagens

Foreword: Rather than to address “undercoating” as a general topic of discussion, I’ve tried to keep the focus upon undercoating as it related to Volkswagens through 1979 and as it relates, now, to the vintage Volkswagen hobby.

Undercoating has around for years and years in the world of vintage Volkswagens.

The theory behind undercoatings is that a barrier could be created to prevent the infiltration of moisture. Undercoatings themselves had no rust-inhibitive qualities. They simply have been intended as a barrier.

VW dealerships sold the service to new car buyers as a preventative measure to guard against rust. It was a money-making operation and dealers loved it. Especially was it offered in the colder climate States and especially where salt was used on icy roadways.

Recently, I spoke with a former VW trained specialist. He described the undercoating procedure as he observed it. He said that the dealership where he worked had one bay with a lift, “in a dark corner”, where the “nasty” undercoating took place. He told me that it was part of a money-making effort by dealerships in the make-ready department. Undercoating was applied using a hose and gun working from a 30 gallon barrel of material.

I have had my doubts over the years about its effectiveness in sealing the undersides of a vehicle as a moisture barrier. Here’s why. I was in the painting industry for almost 30 years. If there is a coating, I likely have seen it or read about it. In my experience, despite all claims to the contrary, coatings will fail. There is no “eternal” coating. I’ve heard claims that “you’ll never have to paint again”. Why can’t this be true?

Undercoating Vintage Volkswagens

It can’t be true because of expansion-and-contraction problems. When the base material—wood, metal, plastic—expands or contracts, the coating is going to suffer, eventually. Some coatings are better suited than others. But the fact of the matter is that coatings fail.

Metals, especially, are given to fluctuations from heat and cold. They will expand and contract more, and more quickly, reacting to weather and usage conditions.

What’s another problem? It’s the fact that the underside of a vehicle is not a continuous sheet of metal. Not at all. The undersides of vehicles are composed of pieces that have been fitted to form a unit. This could be through a continuous weld or spot-welding or with nuts and bolts and washers. There are joints. Every place where there is a weld or a nuts-and-bolts joint, expansion rates will differ.

As well, the application of undercoatings must completely encase all of this in order to form a viable covering—it must be seamless. This doesn’t happen.

The next issue is that undercoatings historically were shot onto factory painted surfaces. In order for a coating to adhere, there must be the possibility of adhesion. Slick surfaces will not offer such adhesion possibilities. As a result, I have been able to remove portions of undercoatings on Volkswagens simply by using compressed air. Sometimes, I have been able to remove it in sheets, simply because of the lack of adhesion. I can imagine that vibration over the years helps to loosen poorly adhered coatings.

Peter Ferguson’s ’67 Beetle

Peter Ferguson's '67 Beetle

Our thanks to Peter Ferguson for letting us have a glimpse of his native Ireland. His story helps to enlarge our understanding of the global 1967 VW Community.

First, Peter, tell us a little about your part of Ireland to give us some background. Most of us readers have little idea of your country.
Hi all, my name is Peter and I am 35 and married to Amy (12 years married) with three children: Rebekah (7), Daniel (4), and Caleb (18 months). I am an Anglican clergyman/pastor and live on the Emerald Isle (Ireland), currently serving in Carrickfergus just outside Belfast City. Our wee Country is blessed with some of the most scenic drives and countryside in the world, although is does rain a lot – that is why it is so green!

How did you first become interested in Volkswagens?
My love affair with all things air-cooled Volkswagen is due to one man, my late grandfather, George Megahey. He drove Beetles throughout his working and retired life. My earliest memories are, along with my two brothers, jumping into the back of his Beetle and heading ‘round the coast and along the waterways and little villages of the Ards Peninsula. I was intrigued with the shape of the car, so different from all others and how the tiny side windows popped out. One stand-out childhood memory is when my family would holiday at Newcastle Co. Down in view of the Mourne Mountains. Our grandparents would come to visit us. We would hear the whistle of the Beetle before we saw it and knew they were here! My brother and I would jump on the runner boards and hold onto the gutters while grandpa would drive us slowly and safely to our caravan!

Papa George worked at Harland and Woolfe shipyard in Belfast (incidentally so did my great grandfather, who worked as a cabinet maker–he would have worked on the Titanic and all those great ocean liners of times past). He told us how that in the winter months, his colleagues with their water-cooled engines would get frozen, but he would hop into his little Beetle and away he went every time!

Were Volkswagens imported directly from Germany into Ireland?
Yes. Volkswagens were imported directly into Northern Ireland (United Kingdom) from Germany. However in the Republic of Ireland there was an assembly line in Dublin which put together CKD cars from all the parts. These are rare and sought after today. One unique feature of the Irish built beetle is the shamrock logo stamped on the windows.

You mentioned a VW Club–are there still many Volkswagens in Ireland or, are they scarce?
At one time Volkswagens were a very familiar sight on our roads. Everyone of a certain age has a Volkswagen story. They were seen as cheap and reliable transport and as such were used for transporting kegs of Guinness to bales of straw in towns, villages and on farms throughout the Country. They would have been used and abused, so many didn’t survive. Now they are a rare sight, but there is a small yet growing community of Volkswagen enthusiasts throughout the Island – north and south. They are now seen as a prized and iconic vehicle and bring a smile wherever you go.

We’re Moving. Next Stop, Austin, TX

We are Moving. Next Stop, Austin, TX
Some of you may already know, but 1967beetle.com is relocating to Austin, TX. We’ve been in the SF Bay Area 5 years, and it’s time for the next adventure! If you’re local to the Austin, TX area, please say hello. We’d love to connect with other vintage Volkswagen owners.

Also, I’d like to thank every ’67 Beetle owner around the world that has helped us continue to grow. 1967beetle.com exists because of your shared passion for the best year vintage Volkswagen.

FOR SALE — L639 Zenith Blue ’67 Beetle

Tim Mossman is a friend of 1967beetle.com. His ’67 was featured not that long ago and is a very special car and, is now for sale. It has all the special items in place that make a ’67 so unique.

History
• Purchased new from Imported Motors, 725 Wyoming N.E., in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on April 22, 1967, by Mr. Brian A. Young 
• Have personally met original owners; complete documentation since day one (binder full of service records, repairs, insurance, even a note left on the windshield by someone who wanted to buy it back in the 80s) 
• Original bill of sale 
• Owner’s dealer membership card (in plastic pouch on inside of glove box door (next to original tire PSI sticker) 
• Original keys in leather pouch from Imported Motors dealership 
• Original owner’s manual 
• VIN: 117292991 (October/November ’66 build) 

Engine 
• Engine number: HO475668 
• Stock 1500 engine professionally rebuilt (with NOS 1500 cylinders-almost impossible to find) in November 2013 (approx. 2,000 miles on engine) 
• Rebuilt by Darren Krewenchuk and Lanny Hussey. Darren built this engine.
   and Lanny built this ’67.
• All 67 metal engine pieces cadmium plated 
• Engine tin powder-coated and painted satin black
More information on engine rebuild

• New clutch, throw out bearing
• New muffler, front hood seal, muffler (Dansk), heater boxes, tail pipes
• New oil sensor
• New fuel pump (rebuilt 1500 Pierburg fuel pump by Ed Fall of Vintage Werks
• New Front and rear shocks, brake lines, brakes, fuel lines, window seals, sunroof seal, steering damper, transmission mounts, front wheel bearings
• New fuel tank

Electrical 
• 12 volt (first year) 
• New battery 
• New German flasher relay 
• Lights, signals all work 
• New horn 

Body 
• Original Zenith Blue paint; Wolfsburg Crest Logo threshold plates 
• Rust free 
• Factory Sunroof (opens and closes with ease) with wind deflector shield and factory Goldie handle 
• Original dealer-installed wind deflector 
• All body metal original 
• Body colored matching running boards 
• Original glass (except front windshield; replaced March, 2014) 
• Original bumpers 
• New mud flaps 
• Mr. Bubblehead 1967 Volkswagen license plate frame 
• Spare tire (bias ply radial made in Austria) 
• Original trunk liner and wiring cover 
• Original windshield washer bottle 
• Original jack 
• New American Classic radial whitewall tires 

Interior 
• Original carpet, floor mats, door panels, and seat covers, (driver’s seat professionally reupholstered), headliner 
• NOS black matching seat cushions for front seats 
• 4 Piece Custom coco mat set (Black & Blue Dot) from cocomats.com 
• Original owner’s VW membership card in plastic pouch and tire PSI sticker on glove compartment door 
• Original Sapphire V AM radio in excellent working condition 
• Rear factory speaker (sits just below rear window; in good working order) 
• Fader switch between front and rear speakers 
• Shift lock (from Wolfsburg West) 
• Kamei accessory parcel tray 
• Bud vase 

Safety 
• Original ‘lobster claw’ type seat belts in good working condition; driver’s side missing black plastic cover; have a spare set of 67 only seat belts in excellent condition 
• Dealer installed 3-point seat belts that work with lap belt

Status: FOR SALE
Mileage: 2,000 (Rebuilt)
Location: North Vancouver, British Columbia
Price: $29,500
Contact: Tim Mossman

L633 VW Blue ’67 Beetle Cruisin’

This video was filmed and submitted by reader and ’67 enthusiast Rees Klintworth. There’s nothing like the cadence of an air cooled engine.

Thank you very much for your contributions to 1967beetle.com. Enjoy the drive.